Asian imports threaten Alabama catfish farms

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
5 December 2006, at 12:00am

DALLAS - Every day Butch Wilson watches thousands of live catfish lifted from his ponds in the western part of this Black Belt county, one slippery pound of flesh after another.

But there are global forces at work that threaten the livelihood of Alabama catfish farmers, who are responsible for 3,000 jobs and annual sales of $170 million worldwide.

Catfish has become a global commodity, and the international market is set for a major shakeup, industry analysts believe.

"This is just my opinion, but we are in survival mode," Wilson said this week at his farm, where he has about 430 acres of ponds.

What's happening, Wilson said, is unfair competition from Asia due to low labor costs and government subsidies from the communist regimes in Vietnam and China.

Source: Montgomery Advertiser